A significant amount of clutter in our homes
could be eliminated simply by being more mindful in the present.

~ Erin Dolan, of the blog Unclutterer

I hate clutter. It wears me down and makes me feel like I need fresh air, or a long nap. I’m not meticulously neat, but I love clutter-free spaces—organized drawers, neatly arranged cupboards and closets, clear counters, bookshelves artistically decorated with books and art, and areas where everything has it’s own place. However, there are times my home gets a bit out of control with stacks of books and magazines, piles of paper, and “stuff”. And then I know its time to contain the chaos and I declutter.

I recently came across an interesting article in Spirituality & Health, titled Using Mindfulness to Tackle Clutter. I hadn’t thought of mindfulness in such a way before, but it makes sense. Just as mindfulness helps bring awareness of our own issues and helps to clear our minds, it also helps us become aware of our surroundings and can help us clear spaces throughout our homes. The author of the article advises that when we touch an object in our home, we should ask, “Does it lift me up, or bring me down?” She goes on to say: It’s a lot like the company we keep: You want to surround yourself with people who make you feel good, rather than people who complain or enable bad habits, so surround yourself with belongings that you need and love.

As the year comes to an end, I’m decluttering again. Every few months I reassess the value of things around me to decide what I should keep, what I should throw or give away, considering whether or not certain items are pertinent to my life, if they are useful or if the bring me joy. I find decluttering takes some energy to get started, but eventually there’s flow and I find the experience cathartic. The article went on to say that mindfulness teaches us to be in the present moment—not the past and not the future—so as we clean, we should move steadily from one small area to another, giving each our complete attention.

Any thoughts? How do you tackle clutter?

Wheat Berries and Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Miso-Sesame Dressing

The other night I decided to try combining two of my son’s favorites—miso and wheat berries. I came up with this really terrific warm-ish salad made of hearty and chewy wheat berries, roasted delicata squash, kale and azuki beans. They all get dressed up in a very flavorful miso-sesame dressing. After we had this for dinner (my son ate this with gusto), I quickly scribbled down my recipe to share it with you. I hope you like it!

Serves 2-4

2 cups water
½ cup wheat berries, soaked overnight and drained
1 delicata squash (about 1 pound)
olive oil
1 small bunch (about 2 ounces) kale, stems removed (I used dinosaur/lacinto kale)
1 cup azuki beans, cooked
¼ cup peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
½ cup cilantro leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Miso-Sesame dressing
1 tablespoon red miso
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (I also used some white sesame seeds for garnish)
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon mirin

To prepare the wheat berries, bring the water and the wheat berries to a boil in a medium saucepan. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the wheat berries are tender but still slightly chewy, 40 to 50 minutes. Drain in a sieve and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Leaving the peel in tact (it is not necessary to remove the peel of a delicata squash), cut the delicata squash in half, length-wise and use a spoon to remove all the seeds. Slice each half into ½-inch wide slices. They should look like half-moons.

In a large bowl, toss the squash with olive oil and salt. Transfer and spread squash on a baking sheet and roast until nicely browned, about 25-30 minutes. Toss/flip slices halfway through roasting. Be sure to keep an eye on it to prevent burning. It can happen quickly.

Meanwhile, whisk together ingredients for miso-sesame dressing. Set aside.

Chop kale in very small pieces. Place in a large bowl, add enough dressing to coat the chopped leaves. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes. Add cooked wheat berries, cooked beans, peanuts (if using), and the remaining dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning.

When squash is done. Allow it to cool enough to handle, about 5-7 minutes. Gently toss roasted squash and cilantro leaves into salad. Give a few grinds of black pepper, and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

9 thoughts on “Wheat Berries and Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

  1. I hate clutter and I forbid it in my house. I am known for that. I am a minimalist. If it is up to me, I wouldn’t hang anything (frames) on my walls either. My current apartment is so small and barely any storage place that I can’t have my counters and shelves clear as I wish. I am still trying to teach my son not to clutter his closet.
    Your featured recipe is very special with all these interesting ingredients coming in harmony together. Just beautiful. 🙂

    1. Good for you Fae! I live in a small apartment too and it drives me crazy that I can’t keep my counters clear and cupboards clutter free. Hence my “zeal” to do a lot of cooking lately. My cupboards are starting to breathe! 😉 Glad you like the combinations of flavors in this recipe. We really enjoyed it, so did my neighbors! I love sharing what comes out of my kitchen. It’s comforting to feed friends and family, and I can get great feedback too! 😉

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